Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) help Del Monte Foods be best in class

Del Monte Foods’ new Topeka DC brings laser-guided AGVs from manufacturing into distribution. The result is a best-in-class materials handling system that minimizes costs with room to expand in the future.

<p>Del Monte relies on more than 30 fork-equipped AGVs for put away and pallet picking in the distribution center. <i>Pictured: Keith Arntson, vice president of distribution operations for Del Monte Foods.</i></p>

Del Monte relies on more than 30 fork-equipped AGVs for put away and pallet picking in the distribution center. Pictured: Keith Arntson, vice president of distribution operations for Del Monte Foods.

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Automatic guided vehicles, or AGVs, have been a staple of materials handling in a manufacturing environment for decades. It’s not uncommon to find a fleet of 20 or more vehicles delivering product to the assembly line in a large automotive plant.

But, AGVs in a distribution center? Not so much. In DCs, they have largely been relegated to moving product from the plant to an adjoining DC. That may be about to change, if the 420,000-square-foot distribution center opened by Del Monte Foods in Topeka, Kan., last October is any indication.

There, Del Monte has put to work a fleet of 39 laser-guided AGVs (Elettric80, us.elettric80.com).

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About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

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